Over the last couple of months, I’ve been working my way through a few old manga series that I started reading about ten years ago, but abandoned at some point. This all started with Rurouni Kenshin, back in November. I finished that series right around Christmas, with volume 28. (I’d previously read 1-19.) After that, I picked up on Ai Yori Aoshi. I’d read the first 13 volumes of that more than ten years ago, and finished the last few (14-17) in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Then, I picked up a short 10-volume series called Remote. I’d previously read the first six volumes. Right around New Year, I reread all of those, and then continued through the last four.
So that knocks a few things off my list. I had a lot of fun reading these. I have a few other series sitting around that I’ve either started and abandoned or bought but never started. So I’m thinking about continuing (or starting) those too.
One of the oldest and longest-running series on my list is Oh My Goddess. There are 48 volumes for that one, published in the US by Dark Horse, from 2002 through 2015. I have about half of the volumes between 1 and 20. I picked them up out of discount bins at a couple of conventions, a long time ago, so I was picking up what was available, figuring that maybe I’d fill in the holes at some point. I’ve read three of them. I guess I could just start reading what I have and see if I want to pick up the rest. Forty-eight volumes is a lot though. From what I can remember, it was the kind of series where it’s OK to dip in and out. I don’t think it was one long story. And I remember it being pretty funny.
I also have a fairly random sampling of Battle Royale volumes. That’s a 15 volume series; I have six of them. Again, they all came out of a discount bin at a con long ago. This one, I think, really is one long story, so I’m not sure if just reading six random volumes out of 15 is going to be any good. The series was originally published by Tokyopop before their shutdown, and is currently out of print in the US (as far as I can tell), though it’s not hard to find used copies on Amazon for less than their original cover price. Tokyopop made the interesting choice to bring in Keith Giffen to do an English “adaptation” of this series, so it’s not just a straight translation. I’ve seen mixed opinions on this, but it seems like most fans would have preferred a more direct translation.
There’s one more short series I have part of: Planetes. This was originally published as a five-volume series. I have the first three. (Technically, it was a four-volume series, but the fourth volume was split into two in the US.) The original publisher was Tokyopop; it was re-released by Dark Horse not too long ago, in two large omnibus volumes. I could probably get what I’m missing by picking up the second Dark Horse omnibus. I’ve been really curious about this series, since it’s generally gotten very good reviews. It’s supposed to be a hard SF series, which would be unusual for manga. (Most manga SF falls into the over-the-top space opera sub-genre.)
This has all got me thinking about the long and checkered history of manga publishing in America. I found a good article about this history on Anime News Network. Most of the manga I mentioned above was bought during the big manga boom of the early 2000’s, around 2000-2005. But I remember buying some of earlier stuff that came out of Eclipse/Viz in the late 80s, along with Lone Wolf and Cub from First, and Akira from Marvel.
Speaking of Lone Wolf and Cub, I should really pick up the Dark Horse collections of that, published from 2000-2003. They printed the whole series, whereas First only got through about a third of it. And the Dark Horse volumes are available digitally, so I don’t have to worry about even more manga paperbacks cluttering up my apartment. But maybe I should wait to buy those until after I’ve gotten through the rest of the stuff I already own.